Café Levinsky 41
Tel Avivi like to get their caffeine hit from a branch of cheap and cheerful chain Cofix, but instead try Café Levinsky 41, a hipster hole in the wall at 41 Levinsky Street. It’s so tiny that the seating area is the back of a truck parked outside.
On Saturdays (the sabbath) most public transport shuts down, so it’s a great excuse to hit the beach – there’s 14 kilometres of it. Bring a bat and ball: all day long you’ll hear the hypnotic plip-plop-plip of matkot (beach tennis).
Tel Aviv has some of the coolest street art on the planet. You’ll see it everywhere but to find the best head to the gentrifying Florentin neighbourhood. Guy Sharett (above) runs a tour that teaches Hebrew from the graffiti.
If Tel Aviv is known for one architectural style, it’s Bauhaus – more than 4,000 examples make up the White City, a Unesco World Heritage Site. At the Bauhaus Centre (77 Dizengoff Street) you can buy books and souvenirs and pick up a self-guided audio tour.
Cycle to the ancient port city of Jaffa, then wander its lanes, browse the flea market and tuck into shakshuka (eggs poached in tomato sauce, above) at Café Puaa. If you like the vintage decoration and furniture you’re sitting on, you can buy it to take home.
Israelis add the suffix ‘-oosh’ to the end of words to make them sound cutesy. ‘Hi’ and ‘bye’ become haioosh and bahyoosh, with the stress on the first syllable.
NOW MEET TEL AVIV’S BEST DISHES
CHRIS DWYER finds the city’s trendiest tables
Chef Ran Shmueli celebrates local produce in a spacious open kitchen at the heart of a restored 19th century Templar building in Sarona. The most coveted seats allow diners to see dishes such as slow-cooked lamb in pomegranate sauce being made. The biodynamic Israeli wines and ancient
stone walls are equally as impressive as the plates, while breads from the tabun clay oven are worth the trip alone. clarotlv.com
Local chef Orel Kimchi runs the show at Popina in the neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek, one of the city’s prettiest. A former San Pellegrino World’s Best Chef, he continues to win acclaim for Mediterranean/French dishes such as oxtail slow-cooked in brandy, pumpkin jam ravioli and rice pudding soaked in rosewater. popina.co.il
Tel Aviv’s best (and only) 24-hour breakfast institution. The waft of freshly baked bread draws you in, while perfect omelettes or long bubbles-filled brunches keep you there. There’s no doubt which meal is taken most seriously in its two locations across Tel Aviv. benedict.co.il
Falafel is one of the Middle East’s most famous dishes: with good reason. The simple combination of fried balls of ground chickpeas, salad and tahini in pita bread has hundreds of pretenders to the throne in Tel Aviv, but one name mentioned time and again is Tadmor. Consistent long lines at the tiny shopfront show that this is one of the very best – and cheapest – in the city thanks to perfect execution by its long-time owner and a bewildering array of hot sauces. 98 Shalma Road
Jaffa is the oldest part of the city, and the bohemian twin to buzzy Tel Aviv. While the eponymous Abu Hassan Hummus has bragging rights for the best hummus in town, Kalamata in Jaffa’s Kedumim Square continues to pack them in thanks to its peerless Greek dishes, with seafood a speciality. Knockout views over the Mediterranean make the vibrant plates even more memorable, while shots of ouzo always help get a party started. kalamata.co.il
Cathay Pacific flies to Tel Aviv from Hong Kong four times a week.